Saturday, June 12, 2010


I was remembering that old song-REACH OUT AND TOUCH…seems that I have been driven to reconnect with people from my past.

Back in the early 1970’s I met up with a fellow named Frank Fetta via the LACC Opera workshop.

I was mostly a singer in those days torn between art and music.

I loved to design but also loved to sing.

Actually Frank helped make up my mind about which to do more when he said I didn’t have the temperament of a singer-he was probably right although a world class voice somewhat went to waste.

There was a gang in those days Frank, Joann Zajac (a brilliant soprano with a voice that could stop any production), Gary Fisher, Louis Lebeherz, Gina Hamilton and many others.

We were opera in Los Angeles in many ways.

In those early years of the 1970s we produced Hansel and Gretel, The Magic Flute in the W. H. Auden translation, later at ELACC Tales of Hoffmann, Die Fledermaus, Bayou Legend and more...all on the slimmest of budgets but with style and verve.

In the 80’s we were in Ontario with Westend Opera and the Redlands Festival where amongst many productions we were all together again on AIDA, La Boheme and a fully produced Magic Flute that I directed (Gary had directed the first time).

That last Magic Flute was so special Gina as the third lady, Louis as Sarastro, Gary as Tamino, Frank in the pit-if we had been able to have Joanie as the Queen it would have been very special indeed-and me directing and designing.

A young woman named Elizabeth Biggs (Elizabeth Blancke-Biggs) sang Papagena in that production-she was young, svelte and beautiful with a charming voice and a wonderful stage prescence..

I recently checked to see what she was up to and found that she had stepped into TOSCA at the Met (Metropolitan Opera NYK) in MAY and was a huge success.

I had dropped an email and I received a signed photo and a disc of her Met Tosca excerpts via her agent.

That led me to remember Joannie-I had always hoped to hear her do Tosca (one of my favorite operas) –the last I had heard she was running a B&B in Greece-now it seems she is here in the states teaching voice again in L A, NEW YORK and Vegas.


She sees Frank-and sent several lovely emails to me in response to my “Do you remember me?” query.

I also think I have located Gina-we actually went to school together at Cal Arts-it would be nice to hear from her as well.

I miss music like I miss the theatre.

I have put so much into art but theatre was always my first love and Opera is theatre of the highest form-it has everything music, drama , pageantry and glamour-maybe I still have time to do that again a little in the late part of my life?

Reconnecting is so…I don’t know…exciting and nostalgic certainly but also fraught with little stresses since as we move on and live our lives we change…in changing we must be open to the same changes in others.

Sometimes the hardest thing to bear is someone who has not changed at all or who has changed for the worst.

I had found a friend from the distant past and sadly he was so mentally ill that any sort of a lasting relationship with him was now impossible…another fellow who had been very forthright and ready to take chances had become tentative and reserved…

I wonder how they see me---serious, more serious certainly than I was in those boyish years of the 60’s and 70’s, less temperamental than I was in the 80’s, less self assured than I was in the 90’s…

I have to say that living through Viet Nam, the AIDS plague and so many other events that have culled the roster of friends past/passed, if you are wondering about someone from your past try “Googleing “ them…whatever the outcome the adventure of the search can be worth the outcome.

One must be prepared for people we waited too long to reconnect with who have passed over but there is a special joy in sharing memories with someone who we knew and who knew us “Way back then…”

1 comment:

  1. Hi Rick,

    I just happened upon your blog via, another blog. I admire all of your work in your Etsy shop. I had to grab a few digi's to color them in to...and I agree with you about looking someone up from your past. I have often wondered about childhood friends myself. Thanks for the inspiration to get off my duff and see if I can find some of them...I also loved your insert about Tar-Jay..I didn't know that little tidbit...not that I shop there much..I just can't get into (shop) that store for some's nothing like walking into Michaels, Hobby Lobby or any other craft store....good luck with your shop and I'll share your link with the rest of my friends on my blog....Have a sunny kind of day..

    Nancy T.


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